Night Bivouac of the British Army at Ferozshah on the 21st December 1845 London, Rudolph Ackermann, 1 December 1848

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Lot 186
Night Bivouac of the British Army at Ferozshah on the 21st December 1845
London, Rudolph Ackermann, 1 December 1848

£ 1,000 - 1,500
US$ 1,400 - 2,100

Islamic and Indian Art Online Sale

Online only

18 Nov 2020 ended at 12:00 GMT

London, New Bond Street

Night Bivouac of the British Army at Ferozshah on the 21st December 1845
London, Rudolph Ackermann, 1 December 1848
coloured engraving by John Harris after H. Martens, based on a sketch by Major G. F. White, 31st Regiment, from the series Celebrated Engagements of the British Army during the Sikh Wars', text below giving title, dedication to Major General Sir Harry Smith, and a descriptive passage from a letter of Lord Hardinge, laid down on card
sheet (trimmed) 480 x 618 mm.; card 546 x 678 mm.

Footnotes

  • This engraving depicts the scene in the British camp after the first day of fighting during the Battle of Ferozeshah in December 1845. This was the second desperate encounter of the First Anglo-Sikh War (1845-46). In some of the fiercest fighting the British had ever experienced in India, the Sikhs had come within hours of defeating the British forces earlier in the day. The publisher's caption to the engraving quotes from a letter written by Lord Hardinge, the Governor-General, who is clearly identifiable in the scene owing to his having lost his left hand two days before the Battle of Waterloo:

    H. M.'s 9th, 29th, 31st & 80th H. C's Eurn. Lt. Infy. and other Corps awaiting the morning to renew the Combat, Lords Hardinge & Gough and Staff in the foreground. 'The Night of the 21st', says the Governor General, 'was the most Extraordinary of my life. I Bivouaced with the men, without food or covering, and our nights are bitter cold. A burning Camp in our front, our brave fellows lying down under a heavy Cannonade, which continued during the whole night, mixed with the wild cries of the Seikhs, our English hurrah, the tramp of men and the groans of the dying...in this state, with a handful of men who had carried the batteries the night before, I remained till morning'.

    The treachery of the Sikh generals and courtiers, who withheld reinforcements and supplies from their troops, helped to turn an almost certain British defeat into victory, though at a great cost - they suffered losses similar to those experienced at Waterloo.
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